President's Corner

Equal Voice Networks: Uniting Families for Change

April 19, 2019

Luz Vega-Marquis
By Luz Vega-Marquis
President and CEO

Network-building is at the root of our grantmaking strategy. To connect our grantees across issues and across the communities they serve we’ve established Equal Voice Networks.

At Marguerite Casey Foundation, networks have been an integral part of our work from the beginning, fueling a national movement of families that is creating lasting change across the country through sustained collaboration.

Now, we are telling the story of Equal Voice Networks in a new motion graphic released by the Foundation this month. It’s the story of how strategic networks help families, communities and organizations work together across race, regions, issues and egos to create powerful solutions.

It’s really the story about creating true and lasting change as networks elevate the collective voice and power of low-income families – who are closest to the issues, pain and solutions of poverty. Their voices have too often been ignored, drowned out by perceived experts, policymakers and others who lack their expertise.

Networks are changing that by unifying families, grassroots organizations and community leaders around collective action. Together, they are setting their own priorities, developing best practices, nurturing new leaders and sharing resources. Across regions, states and the nation, 15 regional and two national networks are empowering families to solve the problems of poverty.

Families understand these problems and they know the solutions. Networks drive their work.

In California, for example, four networks joined together to win a higher minimum wage, more affordable housing and sentencing reforms in the criminal justice system. In Illinois, the Chicago Equal Voice Network engaged voters, resulting in $88 million going back to public schools. Last year, two networks worked together in Florida to restore the right to vote for 1.4 million returning citizens.

In our new motion graphic, you can learn the reasons behind these victories and how Marguerite Casey Foundation-supported networks and long-term general support grants are the mortar of a growing movement of low-income families, who are advocating on their own behalf for change.

Today, networks are at the forefront of a pioneering approach to philanthropy, one tested and proven by Marguerite Casey Foundation, which puts families in their rightful place as leaders of a national movement. Please join us in watching the motion graphic and supporting networks as vital in building a movement of families, better philanthropy and a more just and equitable world.

Equal Voice Networks: Uniting Families for Change